CIA Refuses to Remove Drone Airbase from Pakistan


Yochi J. Dreazen
NationalJournal
July 1, 2011

The Central Intelligence Agency is continuing to use a covert base inside Pakistan for drone strikes and other counterterrorism operations despite Islamabad’s public insistence that the facility has been closed, highlighting the increasingly complicated relationship between the two nominal allies in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s killing there earlier this year.

Senior U.S. and Pakistani officials said in interviews on Friday that CIA operations at the Shamsi air base in western Pakistan, a short distance from the Afghan border, were continuing unabated and that no American personnel had been withdrawn from the facility. The base is the hub of the CIA’s escalating campaign of drone strikes against militant leaders throughout Pakistan, a push that Obama administration officials credit with decimating the leadership of al-Qaida and many of its Islamist allies.

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